Some of the critical processes in our body run on autopilot which is why we don’t have to think about blood pressure, body temperature or breathing rates. They happen automatically due to the autonomic nervous system.
Autonomic nervous system
The autonomic nervous system is comprised of two main systems:
Sympathetic nervous system
Parasympathetic nervous system
The sympathetic nervous system orchestrates what is often referred to as the fight-or-flight response when you are under stress. It increases your heart rate and blood flow, quickens your breath, and dilates your pupils. Can you relate?
The parasympathetic nervous system, on the other hand, is sometimes called the rest-and-digest system. After the activation of the fight-or-flight response, this system slows your heart rate and lowers your blood pressure to bring your body back to a relaxed state.
Now you’re probably thinking…okay, sounds good. But how do I access that system that’s going to calm me down?
Last year, I learned that deep belly breathing also referred to as diaphragmatic breathing, activates the parasympathetic nervous system. You may be familiar with this type of breathing if you practice yoga or meditation or if you are a rescue swimmer in the US Coast Guard (shout out to my friend, Coast Guard Joe!)
Simply stated: taking deep breaths will help stop the flow of stress hormones and calm you down.
Wow! Absolutely revolutionary!
While I believe that some stress and excitement is good for us and can even help us perform at our best, there are definitely times that my stress hormones have been a bit too overactive. Other than a lot of self-talk in my head, I had no strategy to calm myself down. But now I do.
How to do deep belly breathing
Sit in a chair, with your feet firmly planted on the floor. Keep your spine straight, your shoulders, head and neck relaxed.
Breathe in slowly and deeply through your nose so that you feel your belly expand.
Exhale slowly and completely (through either your mouth or nose) drawing your navel in towards your spine.
Try to extend the length of the exhale to be longer than your inhale.
Repeat 3-5 times.
This short exercise will take you about 30 seconds and may result in many benefits, including slowing your heart rate, lowering your blood pressure, reducing the flow of stress hormones, and greater focus.
I incorporated this practice into my coaching sessions. My clients are sometimes rushing to get to our appointment on time, which can create feelings of stress. Taking three deep breaths together, before we begin, enables both of us to stop the flow of stress hormones and help us transition from whatever we were working on before to giving our full attention to the coaching session.
Can you find opportunities in your day to incorporate some deep breathing?
This post was written by Sharon Danzger and first appeared on her blog.
Sharon Danzger is the founder of Control Chaos and author of ‘Super-Productive: 120 Strategies to Do More and Stress Less‘. Her firm helps clients improve personal productivity, performance, and well-being through corporate training as well as individual and group coaching.
Like many small businesses owners, Richard always found more things to do in any given time than he could necessarily manage. Even though he doesn’t bill by the hour, he was interested in how he spent his time.
“I don’t often invoice in direct time units. Nevertheless, it’s critical for me to be able to see how much time went where, and being brutally honest, if I’ve wasted time.”
Furthermore, he found that in client discussions it’s incredibly helpful to have a documented timeline of “what happened with whom and when”. This makes it possible to offer maximised transparency to the customers.
He bought Timeular last year but COVID19 led him to work more from home and really deal with time management. That’s why he became a full-time user in March.
“I wish I’d started earlier. Also I should have experimented with the app. In terms of usability, it’s so easy and quick to set up that I didn’t really need much in the way of guidance.”
Planned tasks vs reality check
Richard usually tries to plan his day in detail as the last “close of business” task the previous day. He assigns Outlook slots to all the things he needs to get done and then works out priorities. His clients are in many different time zones. He knows that when he shuts down in the evening, there will be a surge of late-night needs coming in from the US and also an early morning surge from Asia. This means from about 5:30 when he starts work, he will need to reschedule a couple of tasks to fit his clients’ needs.
He assigns an hour each day for mindfulness in the form of a forest trail run or a dog walk, although sometimes work timing makes that a challenge.
Furthermore, Richard is using the Outlook function to build automatic buffers into meetings and conference calls, which helps him declutter and ensures he doesn’t stay in front of the hardware for extended periods of time.
“Timeular is, however, a superb extension to this and also a reality check. I’ve subscribed to my Timeular feed in Outlook on all devices, so I have now my plan but also my reality, which not only helps me make sure I’m spending appropriate amounts of time on individual projects but also gives me a correlation of what needs to be done and what took up how much time.”
More accountability and transparency
Timeular gives Richard a massive boost in terms of time accountability and effective transparency. It helped him optimise his invoicing cycle and gave him a lot more confidence in the way he structures his projects. His billing process now takes 30 minutes less per client, “so that’s a huge productivity bonus and gives me time for more effective administration work!”. Furthermore, it gives his clients a better sense of deliverable timing.
“I’d often researched systems – I think I get on better with Timeular not only because of what it offers but also because it’s fun to work with. Of course, you could – as I have done – write a little database to do this, but the cross-platform functionality and having the physical octahedron makes tracking quick and easy. I had looked at alternatives and I’m very happy to have chosen this system.”
“Timeular protects time from its worst enemy in the shape of time-wasting and lack of focus.”
Richard is the owner of Graphic Strategy, a technology and strategy consulting company.
Melissa works at a hospital as a Sr. Analyst. With jumping from project to project throughout the day, Melissa found it difficult to remember how much time she exactly spent on each of them. The fast pace with back to back meetings and working sessions didn’t make it any easier.
“ I always felt I was spending too much time trying to remember how exactly I spent my time for each client.”
Finding joy in time tracking
Melissa starts her day with the most immediate tasks in mind. Projects and their priorities tend to fluctuate. With that she finds herself pushing on tasks aside to focus on another. At times she feels she is working on multiple projects in tandem and totally forgets about tracking what she did. At the end of the week, she often was frustrated because she couldn’t recall the accurate time spent on her different trading partners. This made her feel anxious.
Now with Timeular, it’s easy just to flip anytime she makes a change with her focus on work. Furthermore, she wanted to make the Timeular Tracker fun and interesting to keep her motivated to use the tool. Melissa loves art – especially Van Gogh – this is why she decorated her Tracker with his paintings.
“I am not one that finds joy in tracking my time. Thankfully, I can now simply flip the Timeular Tracker.”
Being mindful about your time
Melissa now has a better understanding of where her time is spent. And most of all, she is confident with being accountable for her time as she is more mindful with that now.
She needs to keep her calendar open for meetings scheduled with other co-workers throughout the day. Depending on the results of the morning scrum calls, the day of meetings can pass by very quickly. “I am more mindful of my time…I guess it is not the in-the-moment mindfulness. However it does allow me to be present with my work.”, she says.
For anyone in Poland looking to build a high performing recruitment team, Kasia Tang is usually your first port of call. As a trainer to recruiters, she helps ambitious companies source and attract the right person for the right role, helping them navigate the myriad productivity tools along the way.
As an independent and in-demand consultant, Kasia was keen to get a hold of exactly how she spent her time and on what activities in order to help plan future work. Like all of us experience, when a day slipped by that felt unproductive, without being equipped with time data, there was little Kasia could do to change it. “I felt like I wasn’t productive at all. It was very easy to get sucked in by social media instead of doing any meaningful work. I couldn’t recall later what I was doing. My calendar was technically filled in, but I knew that often it wasn’t actually the true representation of what I ended up doing.” When she discovered Timeular by chance on Facebook she decided to invest in a Tracker – a gift for her future self.
Timeular is the easiest way to track time, see where it goes and take action to be more productive. The 8-sided physical Timeular Tracker makes time tracking simple to collect, minute-precise and with fewer forgotten or lost entries – all without a manual spreadsheet in sight. The Tracker automatically populates a timesheet in the Timeular app and the underlying data turned into meaningful insight.
Reflecting the multitude of tasks a busy consultant works on daily, Kasia assigned activities including blogging, personal development, conference work and preparing training materials to her Tracker. Of the 8, some contribute directly to how much Kasia earns and others can be some as “just busy work”. Tracking her time, Kasia knows her ideal number of hours per day, though being familiar with productivity techniques she knows which levers to pull to carry on when in the zone or when to stop if a day isn’t going to plan.
“If I schedule anything in my calendar, I use Timeular to see if I actually followed through with my existing plan.”
With Timeular, Kasia now has a clear picture of where her days go, enabling her to answer questions such as “how much time do I need to prepare for this conference?” and better, she knows the relationship between personal & professional development and time she spends delivering training. “This will allow me to chose the right deals and events in the future, where the ROI is high”, she says. Furthermore, the physical Timeular Tracker helps her stay focused at one task and keeps her away from checking her phone too much.
“I absolutely love Timeular!…I feel more in charge of where my time goes. Can’t recommend it highly enough if you want to take control of your work day!”
Suffice it to say, Timeular is an important tool in Kasia’s professional and personal development repertoire. Aside from her to-do list, it’s the only productivity tool she uses.
For others looking to emulate Kasia’s approach with Timeular, she’s got these tips:
Make sure you’re tracking the right activities (Kasia keeps them high level and uses tags and notes to add granularity)
Use the Tracker so that you don’t get distracted by your phone
Set aside 5-10 minutes every day to see how you did and think what you could do tomorrow to be more productive
Analyze time spent on activities vs outputs
Learn more about Kasia Tang’s recruitment training consultancy.
For many, the word “Ricola” conjures the image of a Swiss alphorn player and his colleague calling out “Riiiicccoooollaaaa” amongst a backdrop of stunning Swiss mountain range. Today over 500 people work for the Swiss herb company, providing consumers the world over with their ever-popular products – indeed, the original herb sweet recipe remains unaltered since 1940.
Like all forward-thinking organisations, the office team at Ricola were keen to capture where their time is spent in order to objectively identify perceived time-wasting activities and to have the data they need to make positive changes. The team also needed to provide a simple management-friendly report to provide transparency over time spent on various innovation projects.
It was at this point that they learned of Timeular and embarked upon a 3-month data-collecting and learning period.
Timeular is the easiest way to track time. The 8-sided physical Timeular Tracker makes time tracking simple to collect, minute-precise and with fewer forgotten or lost entries – all without a manual spreadsheet in sight. The Tracker automatically populates a timesheet in the Timeular app and the underlying data turned into meaningful insight.
Using the full suite of Timeular products (Tracker, desktop and mobile apps) so as to ensure everyone can track, analyze and improve according to their platform preference, the team at Ricola have already started to see potential for where time can be optimized – meetings, for example.
Team members are also seeing the personal benefit of Timeular, with feedback that the Tracker is helping make individual task and project time more focused, and people are finding themselves switching tasks less often (even if some were skeptical to start with).
“This is a great tool, which, thanks to its intuitive use, makes it easy for the entire team to use data.”
If your life is surrounded by chaos, it may be difficult to improve the quality of your work, your wealth, health, and get some peace of mind. This type of chaos will negatively affect your productivity whether you’re at work, at school, at home, or generally trying to be creative.
One way to improve your productivity is by listening to podcasts. Podcasts have been in existence for around a decade but their popularity has surged in the recent past. They’re a series of digital audio files that can be downloaded and listened to on your mobile devices, laptop, or on platforms such as Google Play Music, SoundCloud, or iTunes.
Podcasts often feature experts who give valuable information and will help you learn how to be productive. The brilliant thing about podcasts is that you can listen to them anywhere or while doing other stuff. You can listen to them on your daily commute while driving, cooking, or working. You can still be productive while listening to them. Nevertheless, there are too many podcasts available that make it difficult to choose the ones that are worth listening to. Don’t worry, though, these 6 podcasts will assist you to better plan your 2020 and maximize your productivity.
1. Beyond the To-Do List
Beyond the To-Do List is an award-nominated podcast hosted by Erik Fisher. The podcast features interviews with people who make use of productivity strategies in their work and personal lives daily. The interviewees share their successful experience besides the lessons they’ve learned from failing.
The tips and strategies provided in this podcast will help you maximize your productivity in your professional and personal life. Learning from people’s success and failure stories make this podcast one of the best out there. Besides, the only way you’ll get the knowledge is through experience, as Albert Einstein put it.
We’re all aware that ticking items off our to-do lists is a task by itself. The Beyond the To-Do List podcast will certainly leave you inspired and ready to accomplish your daily tasks. Listen to this podcast as the host and his guests tackle themes such as creativity, hustle, distraction and focus, and digital minimalism.
2. The Productivityist
A podcast with a name like this will tell you why it’s one of the best productivity podcasts you have to listen to. If you’re looking to maximize your productivity and achieve success by managing your time, then The Productivityist is the podcast for you.
Mike Vardy, the host of this weekly podcast, is a productivity enthusiast who examines the techniques used in tactical time management. The host has interviewed entrepreneurs, CEOs, psychologists, and authors. Through these interviews, one can learn how to effectively manage their time in their professional and personal life.
Some of the themes tackled on this podcast include productivity while homeschooling, keeping track of productivity data, and mindfulness. Listening to this podcast will also help you learn how to make Mondays work for you and being great at your job. And one of the best ways to perform at your best and manage time wisely when you are a student, whether studying as a regular or part-time, is to outsource the assignment work to de-stress yourself and concentrate on more important things. UK writers can provide you the perfect assignment help when it comes to thesis, dissertation and college essays.
3. The 5 AM Miracle
If you’re looking to take charge of your day before breakfast, then The 5 AM Miracle podcast will help you jumpstart your day. Making the most of the first few hours of the days will put you on the path to becoming ultra-productive.
The kind of enthusiasm that Jeff Sander’s hosts this weekly podcast will help you develop powerful morning habits. The host believes that leveraging the early hours of the day put him on the path to being a successful entrepreneur, a healthy vegan, and a marathon runner.
Although the podcast is designed for high achievers used to rising early, you can listen to it at any time of the day. You’ll still get valuable advice on personal development, sleep, maximizing your energy and productivity levels, and incorporating healthy habits into your life.
4. The Productive Woman
While The Productive Woman is a podcast designed to help busy women become more productive in different areas of their life, men can still listen to it. Both genders can learn a thing or two from Laura McClellan’s podcast on productivity.
The podcast will encourage the busy woman to better manage their life, time, stress and help them achieve their personal goals. The host makes each episode intimate as she shares her personal experiences. The tips offered on the show will help put things into perspective.
Most listeners relate to this podcast and have said that it feels like listening to your mum give you advice. There are more than 200 episodes of valuable information in this audio series that’ll teach you among many things to work smarter and not harder.
5. The Tim Ferriss Show
The Tim Ferriss Show has been ranked as one of the topmost business podcasts. The audio series covers a wide range of topics including how to be productive. Listening to this show will teach you how to maximize your results using the least effort.
The host, Tim Ferris, has also authored “The 4-Hour Week”, a book that he uses on his podcast to teach people how to minimize their workweek and maximize their fitness. Newsweek has even referred to him as the best human guinea pig in the world. This is because he shares his life experiences and those of his many famous guests on this podcast.
Tim always gets the time in his podcasts to discuss productivity and personal habits with his guests, regardless of the topics that are under discussion. Famous guests who have graced this show include Jamie Foxx and Arnold Schwarzenegger.
6. Getting Things Done
Getting Things Done is the perfect podcast for individuals looking for inspiration on how to organize their lives and become highly productive. David Allen, the podcast’s host, gives listeners tips and advice on maximizing their productivity to achieve success in their lives.
Allen has also authored the book “Getting Things Done: The Art of Stress-Free Productivity”. The themes he discusses in this bestselling book include organizational and personal productivity. These themes are also discussed in this podcast and can help improve your personal and professional welfare.
The podcast also provides insight to listeners through interviews with guests from different facets of life. The guests provide a glimpse of their experience of being productive and happy. Other topics that the GTD podcast discusses include improving your mental flow and creativity.
7. Productivity Masterminds Podcast
The Productivity Masterminds Podcast is a perfect start to get a good overview of which different approaches to productivity are out there. Various people with different jobs have been interviewed to give you insights into how they are managing their time and improve their productivity. Guests include also hosts from the above-listed podcasts like David Allen and Mike Vardy.
The episodes are only between 10 and 20 minutes long – so perfect to integrate into your daily routine.
Furthermore, there’s also an episode with Timeular’s CEO Manuel Bruschi, which will provide you with more info about Timeular and how Manuel structures his week.
With the hustle and bustle of everyday life, it’s easy to lose track of your vision with mundane tasks. These tasks can negatively affect your productivity. Listening to productivity podcasts can help put you back on track and help improve your professional and personal life. Plugin your earphones and tune in to one of these best productivity podcasts today.
Michael Gorman is an experienced academic writer and proofreader from the UK who currently works for an essay writing service and other dissertation writing services. He updates himself through books and digital magazines in science and technology, business management and social sciences. Feel free to contact him via Facebook or Twitter.
Meghan Barrett works as a Teaching Assistant in the Biology Department and is a Graduate Candidate at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA. Specifically, she engages in the research of native bees – the 4,000 species of bees native to the United States, as compared to the introduced European honeybee most find familiar.
Meghan began using Timular because she was interested in finding out how much time she’s actually spending on each part of the research process, and how much time other things (teaching, service, outreach, mentorship, social) that aren’t part of her research goals take up in her day.
Making sure not being “over budget”
Meghan was facing a lot of stress making sure she is not “over budget” on teaching hours (she only has 20 hours a week) which are often perceived as cutting into her research time. Graduate students walk a delicate balance between these two tasks.
Moreover, Meghan is also interested in knowing how long she needs to spend on certain activities for them to feel productive. For example, can she be productive writing for only 25 minutes at a time or does she need to structure her day to set aside two hours to really make progress?
The day of a researcher
Meghan’s Mondays to Wednesdays are taken up by teaching, meetings and service-related tasks with tightly scheduled, back-to-back activities and meetings. She leaves Thursdays and Fridays free to be dedicated to research and odd jobs, as she found it difficult to work on research tasks in short bursts of time. Many lab experiments take several hours to run and it helps to have longer periods when focusing on data analysis and writing.
She structures her days the following way:
She starts by referencing a continually updating, prioritized list of tasks from class A to C (most urgent to least).
Then, taking class A in hand, she schedules out about how long she thinks each one will take (multiplied by 1.5) in a paper scheduler, blocking out time for each activity until the day is full.
To keep herself motivated, Meghan puts more rewarding activities after less rewarding ones to help her “mentally push through”.
She then starts tracking the following activities: Writing Grants, Writing Publications, Lab Work (broken down by project name), Mentorship, Outreach, Service, Seminars/Meeting Attendance, Background Literature Reading, Social Activities, Teaching/Grading. (Read more about how you can create sub-activities here.)
The art of saying no
Seeing the analytics at the end of the week, Meghan is able to show both her teaching and research mentors exactly how much time she spent on things “so I can be fair when I say ‘no more grading this week, I’m at my time limit’.”
In addition to that, it helps her realize when her priorities are out of whack and she needs to start saying no to additional service or outreach (which she really enjoys), since she’s not spending enough time on research (which is the main output she wants to achieve). If she sees she’s spending too little time on her main task, she makes changes to her schedule and activity lists based on that real data.
“As a scientist, I love the analytical reports and I value having real-time feedback where I can analyze my time spent over lots of different timescales and see if changes I’m making in my schedule have actually changed my output to better match my priorities. I LOVE data!”
Timeular for universities
Meghan thinks that Timeular is a great investment for universities who want to help undergraduate, graduate students, and faculty track their actual time spent on each task.
“Graduate students and faculty are notoriously overworked, but a lot of those commitments end up being things we don’t get ‘credit for’ by our bosses (especially service, like committees that help the university function and can take a lot of time, but are often barely a line in a Tenure/Promotion package).”
Getting accurate data on how little time is actually spent on the work the university claims to value most (research) might help restructure departments to reduce some of that unnecessary load or at least cause individuals to rethink their own work structures.
“I really struggle saying no to service/outreach activities and Timeular has helped me value my limited time by showing me, when I prioritize those things too much, I really do hurt my research progress and my career goals. This has pushed me to develop more ‘say no’ skills.”
We also want to thank Meghan for being part of our last retreat. She held a really interesting talk about the fascinating world of insects! (She also shared this interesting video with us).
Meghan Barrett works as a Teaching Assistant and Graduate Candidate at Drexel University. Drexel University is an R01, research-intensive university in Philadelphia, PA. She works in the Biology Department, where she teaches undergraduate students process skills like critical thinking and data interpretation and engages in research on the thermoregulation and neuroanatomy of native bees.
For years Gordon used a browser tool to track time. This was not only inconvenient but also a lot of effort. The Timeular Tracker now is easier to use and “way cooler”. He also uses the device as a nice conversation starter from time to time.
Tracking different “types” of tasks
Gordon starts his day with two 2-hour quiet-time blocks with a half-hour break between them. These are his high-grade production hours for the day. Afterwards he spends his afternoon crushing small tasks, responding to emails and organizing ducks.
All these tasks he has brought together in the 8 sides he tracks: Administrative, Business Development / Learning, Personal, Press Managed, Pro Bono / Trade, Production, Sales / Networking, Support.
“They are the different ‘types’ of time I spend each day.” Reviewing past data allows Gordon to see what proportion of his time is spent on production vs. support, administrative vs. Business Development, etc.
107% happier and highest billable hours
Time tracking doesn’t have to be a burden. Indeed, it can be a pleasure: Flipping the Tracker makes Gordon “107% happier” – well, if that’s not a nice outcome. The physical reminder to track his time makes it easier for him to not forget about it. Additionally, he likes looking at his past data to identify which tasks need more attention and which he should delegate.
“I find it encourages me to do more billable hours because I keep trying to “run up my stats”. Last week I had the second-highest billable hours I’ve ever recorded (since January 2012).”
Gordon’s tip: how to know which side is “up”
Here’s a challenge I had: It’s easy to confuse which way is “up”. I put my 4 most common tasks above the seam. Then I outlined each of those 4 sides with a marker. This lets me quickly know which side is UP, making it much easier to find the side I’m looking for.
Timeular Shared Spaces empowers you and your team to track time together in one place and take full advantage of the simplicity and accuracy of Timeular.
Especially now in challenging times like this, it’s even more important to know how we are spending our time. Either to focus on the important stuff or to find the right balance while working from home for the first time.
What can I use Shared Spaces for? 🚀
Shared Spaces allows you to create a common data structure to track time together and create insightful reports for everyone.
Everyday tasks such as handing in timesheets, billing projects, checking a project’s profitability, improving future estimations and many more things will all become effortless and more accurate.
Shared Spaces is very smart indeed. I love the reporting I can do for my clients – without prompts.
Shared Spaces Beta Tester
How do Spaces work? 🤔
First of all, Spaces are shared with no-one by default. You can create as many Spaces as you want and invite unlimited people of your choice or keep them private.
When inviting someone, you can choose if they’re an admin and therefore have insights into everyone’s time tracking (with a 24h delay) or if they’re a member and only able to see their own data.
Within a space you can create a common data structure by adding activities and tags that everyone can track time on, e.g. you could create a Space for the whole company, assign all of your company’s projects as activities and set tags such as #billable and #non-billable.
In the analytics, admins will see the same insightful charts you’re used to using, but for the whole team. The charts can be customized through our simple-to-use filters. If the charts are not what you’re looking for, you can export the data to CSV/XLSX and create your own charts in e.g. Google Sheets or Excel.
Built with privacy in mind 🔐
We started Timeular because we want to make time tracking for our users as simple and fun as possible. The users that matter to us the most are the people tracking time, hence privacy is important to us.
That’s why you’ll always have a Private Space to track your most sensitive things which no-one but you has access to.
That’s also why everyone’s time entries within Shared Spaces will only show up in the shared analytics after 24 hours, so no-one will be able to check-in on anyone else in real-time.
How to start using Spaces today 👩🏻🚀
To start using Spaces just update the app (in your Settings > App Settings or download it here) to the latest version.
Then go on creating your first Space and invite your colleagues by simply clicking on Add Space on the activity screen. It’s as simple as that.
Spaces is a Pro feature only, but you can start a 30-day Pro trial in the app right after clicking on Add Space.
Isabel is a Business Coach and runs her own coaching company. Her husband was finding her working long hours in her office and because she would never recognize it herself, he gave her the Tracker as a Birthday present.
How Isabel incorporates Timeular into her day
At the beginning of the day, she journals about her goals and priorities, about ideas and finishes with a list of important things she needs/wants to do.
Isabel starts working around 7:30/8:00 am and ends her day at 6 pm “and sometimes a little extra shift after dinner until 9 pm. “
She tracks Client Calls, 1:1 Sessions, Emails, Marketing, Maintenance, Creating and Writing. Additionally, she sometimes assigns different temporary tasks. Furthermore, she uses the #tags to assign the tracked entry to the specific client.
“Tracking my time is crucial to see how many of my working hours were ‘productive’ and how much time I spend with the more creative and the administration part of my business. Also to keep track of the projects and hours I work for clients.”
She uses the Tracker at her office and the mobile app while she is on outside appointments or working from a cafe.
Better price calculations and outsourcing tasks
At the end of the week, she checks her statistics to see how many hours she worked.
Isabel keeps an eye on the ratio of non-productive and productive work because it is important for her price calculations to know how many hours actually go into marketing/acquiring new clients compared to productive client work.
Seeing how much time she spends on each task makes her aware of the need to outsource some of them. For example, she used to do her website on her own and seeing how many hours really went into this at the end of the month made her find somebody to take care of this task.
15K more money in two weeks
“The physical Tracker reminds me all the time to stay focused and track accordingly. Furthermore, it’s easy to use, intuitive, customisable and stylish at the same time.”
Isabel made 15K more money in 2 weeks because she finally can keep her focus. And not only that – while looking at her analytics she noticed that she was working way more hours for a specific client than originally agreed, so she charged him accordingly afterwards.
“At the same time, my working hours reduced after I realized where I am losing time and where I can be more effective with batch work.”
For instance, she now plans her social media posts in advance to reduce the small interruptions in between her work.
Tip: time tracking prevents burn out
“Tracking your time is very important, especially when you are the owner of your business. Nobody else is in charge of your working hours and, even more important, your health. Small business owners tend to feel overwhelmed and burned out quickly and Timeular is such an important tool to help keep track of your working hours and prevent that.”
Isabel is the owner of the coaching company Isabel Sacher. She helps female entrepreneurs to find clarity and build a strong strategy so they can lead their dream businesses and lives.
Sarah works as an IT project manager at a software development company. The constant switching of all her different tasks made her questioning how much time she is actually spending doing all her work to make sure she is focusing on the right things.
Numbers that tell you what to do
Sarah spends her day answering emails, managing her projects, making sure the development team is progressing, working on the stories she assigned herself to, interviewing new hires for her team and joining meetings. That’s why she tracks Meetings, Interviews & Recruiting, Projects, Jira (Scrum), Unplanned, Break, and Email.
Recording her time showed her the following insights:
11% Interviews & Recruiting
Seeing her analytics in the Timeular App made her realize that she was spending way too much time on Meetings and too little time on breaks. Wasting so much time in meetings meant less time to work on development – which she’d love to focus more on.
Time for change
To shift her time to other tasks, Sarah scheduled fewer meetings and replaced them with emails where it made sense. To do so, she asked herself “Could this have been solved with a quick conversation or email?” and replaced the meeting if it was a yes.
“If I had a meeting, I time-boxed them to end the meeting early, but get the agenda accomplished.”
Furthermore, detecting that 1/10 of her time went to interviewing made her pushing her recruiting efforts back to Human Resources and hence freed up more time for her important tasks.
“It’s crucial to identify if a task is aligned with your responsibilities and if there is something you could be delegating or working with the person in charge. It’s about learning to say NO when it’s appropriate.”
Spending less time on meetings, more time on breaks and delegating her recruitment tasks to the department that is actually responsible for it helped Sarah having more time for her development tasks. In addition to that, Sarah found herself using the Timeular Tracker as a nice way to start a conversation. “It plants the seed in other people’s minds that they may need to reevaluate how they spend their time too.”
Sarah Bushland Ta works as an IT project manager at a software development company. The company provides software as a service for people with special needs and disabilities.
Stacy is the owner of an administrative professional business called Proficient Assistant. She has just started her business and wanted to make sure she wasn’t losing time while working from home. In addition, she needs to bill her clients separately and wants to keep track of personal and business time during the day so she started looking for solutions to help
From the to-do list to the billing program
All of the tasks Stacy needs to get done, she puts on a list in her Todoist account. In the next step, she prioritizes them.
After that, she structures her day in time blocks on her calendar, based upon today’s items and the priorities of her list.
She then tracks her activities during the day. Work for multiple clients, business activities and personal time are some of the sides of her Tracker. If applicable, she uses #tags and @mentions to add project numbers and a detailed list of work products/activities to her time entries to make her billing process even smoother.
“It’s important for me to track my time in order to bill accurately, and it’s very helpful to see how much time I devote to actual billable hours each day. It allows me to have a better idea of how productive I’ve been.”
After she reassessed her billed time in the Timeular analytics, she puts her hours into her billing program.
“That way I am never behind or miss out on billing properly.”
More focus, less switching
Before she used Timeular, she was switching her
time between multiple activities. Tracking details of those activities for
billing and time planning wasn’t easy at all. Now she can track all of her
tasks more accurately and increased her billable hours.
“I have a better awareness of my time now and feel that I am more productive and informed.”
Stacy’s tip: use Timeular in combination
Use Timeular to monitor your time in combination with other applications like a calendar for time blocking and Todoist to write down all the tasks you need to get done. Furthermore, it is helpful to log your time into an invoicing software to avoid missing any precious billable hours being charged.
Peter works as a music producer at SuperCéilí. He often works late at night due to events and performances and therefore has very irregular working hours. Not having a regular work schedule makes it crucial for him to keep track of his time during the workweek. This helps Peter compare the time he spent on projects with the corresponding revenue and see where changes might be necessary.
Identify areas one is spending too much time on
He usually starts his workday by prioritizing tasks on his ToDo list.
“I try not to begin by responding to emails and inquiries as this means prioritizing somebody else’s tasks over my own.”
Peter tracks production work, technical work,
promotional work, creative time & correspondence/admin and ToDo list
management. These cover all his work activities.
When he started using Timeular he was able to review very accurate statistics about his working hours and discover where his time was actually going – with some interesting results.
“I was able to identify areas of work that I was spending too much time on.”
Exactly identifying which tasks are taking up
too much time helped him offload some projects. This is saving him about 4
hours of work per week.
Another benefit that time tracking brought into Peter’s life is the fact that having a Tracker running increases his focus on the task at hand and minimizes distractions.
Peter’s tip: be thoughtful with your activities
“Take your time to find your activities. This will maximize the usefulness of your data. Also, be thorough. Ensure you track all work time so that you get an accurate picture of your working hours,” Peter.
Peter Staunton works as a producer at SuperCéilí, a live show which mixes Electronic Dance Music with Irish Dance Music. He has been using Timeular for over a year now.
For Frank the biggest challenge he wanted to conquer was accountability. “Time is everyone’s scarcest resource and I wanted a way to hold myself accountable to where I was spending my time.” He wanted to look back at his week and visualize where his time has been spent and reflect if he needed to adjust for the next week.
Time blocking your week
Frank typically starts his week with an hour-long planning session on
Monday mornings. He lays out his commitments for the week (meetings, events)
and identifies those items he hopes to accomplish (goals, challenges, etc.) on
a weekly basis.
Then he looks at prior week’s tasks/objectives and decides which need to
be carried over to this week or deletes them if they are no longer relevant.
Afterwards he starts laying out his week and blocking out time slots on his
calendar as best as he can.
At the end of the week, Frank reviews his data to see how close he was to accomplish his “Big Rocks”. Rinse and Repeat!
Tracking progress and meeting goals
Frank tracks: Consulting engagements, Planning Sessions, Training, Meditation and Social Media.
Consulting engagements are tracked for billing purposes. With the other activities, he has set certain goals that he wants to track to see if he can reach them. For example, he wants to make sure that he meditates for at least 10 mins daily. At the end of the week, he can easily see whether he was able to meet that goal or not.
Furthermore, he uses hashtags to specify his trainings.
“I have added #entrepreneurship so that I know how much time is spent on that subject.”
Feeling happy and managing time more efficiently
At the end of the week, Frank is asking himself: “Am I happy with where I spent my time this week?”. He is also able to complete his invoices quicker “but that is probably only saving me 30 min/month”.
Furthermore, he was able to identify areas of time that he was not accounting for when planning his week (i.e. commute time to networking events).
“This would turn a planned 2 hour event into 3.5 to 4 hour exercise when you take commute time into consideration.”
As a result, he started to plan his week to minimize those commutes by coordinating activities that were in close proximity.
Frank: “Timeular is perfect for people who are not used to free-time”
“Honestly, I recommend Timeular to so many people. Literally today I think I convinced 3 people to purchase based on my use case. This solution is so good for people who are not used to so-called ‘free-time’ i.e. first-time entrepreneurs. I spent over 20 years in corporate environments and in those settings, your calendar and time are often dictated to you. But when you are a freelancer or entrepreneur there is so much time that you are not told what to work on and for how long. And human nature is to work on what you want to work on (fun stuff or escapism) rather than what you need to work on. A solution like this holds me accountable.”
BIO Frank is the CEO of Catalytics. Catalytics is a consulting firm that enables organizations to introduce emerging technologies, like AI and Advanced Analytics, to help create a more data-driven culture.
Nekka works as an
artist and illustrator. She wanted to understand how much time she spent on
creating art vs the additional activities to advertise and sell it. To find the
right balance, she started tracking with Timeular.
Less social media, more creative artwork
Which activities should I track? That’s a question a lot of people ask themselves. Nekka solved it that way: she thought about the tasks she wanted to manage the time she spends on them.
“I need to keep a balance in my freelance career to ensure I have enough time to focus on all my different tasks.”
To begin with, she looked at how much time she spent
on social media.
With the help of the analytics, she identified where
her time was going to waste and decided where it could be better spent and how
to use it more productively.
“The main issue was spending too much time running social media without having content to post. Seeing the time spent showed me how creating more art would naturally allow more content to be posted. Timeular helps me keep this balance.”
She now has 3 additional hours a week of creative work and spends less time coming up with ideas for her social accounts.
Nekka’s tips: prioritize, finding the right tasks and
You waste a lot more time than you realize on lower priority tasks. Creating a list of priorities helps you get to the things you need most.
One of my challenges was organizing my tasks among the 8 sides. I realized it was more simple to track tasks by a generic category rather than getting confused by too many. I kept things simple and it went much easier.
I use Todoist to log my tasks and see what I’ve accomplished, I also use Toggl in combination with Timeular to help tag my tasks into subcategories and create pdf exports for clients.
Bio Nekka is an artist/illustrator and works as a freelancer for Nekka’s Art. You can find out more about what she is doing here. She has been using Timeular for the last 2 years.
Michael works as an attorney at law in his
own law firm. Being a lawyer also comes with billing your clients and that’s
why he wanted to start tracking his time. “I wanted to see how much of my time
are actual billable hours and how many hours a day I am spending doing private
activities like checking my personal emails.”
Planning is not for every day …
At 6:30 am in the morning Michael starts his day by turning on his coffee-machine in the office #firstthingsfirst. After that, he immediately starts tracking the various activities.
He tracks projects (e.g. LegalTech), cases
and also private activities (mainly for the breaks) with his Timeular
When he is not in court he mainly has
meetings with clients or works on documents of the different cases or
Once a week he also tries to blog something
on the website of his law firm.
“Planning is not a good thing to do every day since as a criminal lawyer cases and clients are likely to ‘pop up’ unforeseen. I try to leave the office at around 6:00 pm but most days I stay longer due to my workload.”
… billing is
Keeping track of his time helps Michael to assign certain activities and their duration better to individual cases. Therefore the billing for his clients is easier and much more transparent, which is very important for him.
“It is fun to track time via a haptic device … there definitely is an aspect of gamification involved, that I find very useful to get things done.”
BIO Michael Lanzinger is an attorney at law in Austria and has his own law firm, called Kanzlei Michael Lanzinger. It is a disruptive law firm that is all about online law, cybercrime, criminal law and legal tech. He was one of the first 100 backers but started tracking his time with Timeular in his law firm in April 2019.
Heidi is a passionate wedding dress designer and has her own business. As some dresses take up more time than others, it is important for her to see how long she actually needs for each piece “so I can check if my pricing is accurate and so that I know that I’m reserving enough time for them”.
She needs to plan her days a year in advance to
know how many dresses she is able to produce. So knowing exactly where her time
goes is very crucial.
From the to-do list to the billing program
At the beginning of the day, she is going through
all her emails and other small jobs. Then she starts working on dresses. She
usually works with 1-3 dresses per day.
“Most days I have clients coming in for fittings, the amount varies.”
With Timeular she tracks how much time she spends
in customer service, making the dresses, answering emails and all the other
paperwork that comes with her business.
Heidi also uses the notes feature to mark down
which client’s dress she is working with.
At the end of the day she checks her emails again and counts down how many hours she works with each client.
The next wedding season is saved
“Timeular has already helped me a lot with those things I needed help with. It’s easier for me to book the next wedding season ahead because now I know better how much time I need to reserve for specific dresses.”
“I also noticed how much time I spent on useless things. I can better concentrate on my tasks now instead of scrolling my phone every 5 minutes.“
Heidi Tuisku is a wedding dress designer and has her own business called Heidi Tuisku. She has been using Timeular since the start of 2019.
As you all know, we take your feedback very seriously and after having shipped tens of thousands of Trackers to 100+ countries worldwide we’ve heard your most important needs loud and clear: faster, stronger and rechargeable.
Starting today we are shipping the new version of the Tracker to everyone. We focused on keeping the much-loved appreciated design and added a new inner core to provide you the following three most requested features enhancements.
1. Stronger and more reliable 💪
Together with our engineers, we’ve completely redesigned the internal antenna and improved the connectivity stack to provide you a 4x stronger and more reliable connection.
If you were experiencing unexpected disconnects in certain situations, they won’t happen anymore.
2. Lightning fast 🚀
We have partially rewritten parts of the Tracker firmware so it will react and connect 12x faster than before to provide you immediate feedback.
This is now the Lamborghini amongst Trackers. You hit the black button and it’s connected right away. You flip the Tracker and it tracks before your hands are back on your keyboard. You put it in the base and it stops tracking faster than you could can close your notebook.
3. Rechargeable ☀️
Time is the most limited and valuable resource and so is our planet. That’s why we’re gradually investing into in ways to create creating less waste.
While A few months ago we have reduced the waste of our packaging by 50% already, we have and with today’s release, we’ve now replaced the coin cell battery with a rechargeable battery to make the Tracker more sustainable and at the same time, as well as more affordable.
The cool thing is that you’ll will only have to recharge the Tracker 3-4 times a year using the included USB-C cable that you can attach to any charger or electronic device like your notebook. It’d be nice if all devices would only have to be recharged so rarely, right? 🙂
Don’t just take our word for it.
Over the past couple of weeks a number of people have been receiving the new Tracker already, and here’s what they’ve been saying about it:
I’m a former Timeular user because my first tracker kept disconnecting and dropping my timing sessions. I took the chance and ordered a new one and I must say that the functionality is so much better! Now I’m convinced.
One of the biggest differences between the first and the latest version of the Tracker is the fast connection set up. But this is not the only thing that’s better: the Tracker now also has a very fast reaction time and it is rechargeable!
The new Tracker is connecting much faster and not having to replace batteries is a great advantage for me but my environment too. Thank you Timeular!
If you want to get your hands on the new Tracker as well just head over to our online store and order one today.
Thank you for your time and your constant feedback,
“I learned my limits. I learned how much more I can give and do. I learned which promises I can give and keep. I learned the difference between the truth and wishful thinking.”
Joey works as a customer service agent. He’s constantly looking for ways to improve himself. He wanted to see how much time he is spending on his activities and which tools are working for him. “Furthermore, I want to see how I can improve not only myself but the workflow of the team.”
GTD-system meets Timeular
Joey’s activities are fluid and forever changing, but he was able to combine them to the eight most important aspects: Calls, Time on order entry, Meetings, Projects, Reports and Salesforce. He uses #tags and @mentions for his most valuable clients to ensure their promises to them are kept.
For planning his day, he uses the GTD-System of David Allen. He writes everything down in an Excel sheet.
He plans his day while commuting, then spends about 30 minutes getting an overview (this is what he tracks) and then works on orders, spending some time with customer requests and questions.
At the end of his day, he blocks time for current projects. As if not enough, he re-checks urgent orders and deliveries and delegates important issues to his team.
He labels his activities with the E/N/D idea. E/N/D stands for Energizing / Neutral / Draining. After finishing a task or when writing it down, you decide whether it was an E, N, or D. This helps you make sure that you don’t have a day full of things that are draining your energy. This is key to stopping burnout in its tracks!
At the end of the week, he compares the tracked data to his initial plan and evaluates what he can do better next time.
Keeping everything nice and organized
For later reviews, Joey keeps nearly everything in files and folders. All his duties and activities are colour-coded. Whether something is saved in digital or paper form, it’s always clearly visible and therefore making his job 100% transparent. With this method, he never loses an order, never misses making a call, never forgets a tiny detail about his customers/coworkers, and it never ever gets hectic.
“More work, in less time, with no mistakes (and enough time to learn from past mistakes), structured projects and plans and the good feeling of going home in the evening, knowing, I did the best I can and am ready to do it again tomorrow. Timeular is a very essential tool, so much so I now do the same with my private life.”
Guesstimating vs estimating and the meaning of time
Joey is now able to squeeze an 11 hour workday into a more relaxed 9 hours day.
“I re-learned the value of time and how to spend it. The differences between someone else’s urgent and my urgent. The difference between giving a ‘guesstimate’ or a fair and accurate time. Also, I learned that you get more done when knowing what it is you’re doing. There is a certain elegant order to everything and Timeular helped my find it for me.”
Time is precious, once gone, it will never come back and Timeular let’s him make the most out of the present and the future. Joey now gets more done than ever before whilst never being stressed or exhausted
Joey’s tip on how to define your activities
Try to track one or two weeks worth of work with pen and paper (not the time spent on it, just the “it” itself), then sit down with a cup of coffee and mindmap your way to your top-8 and see if they make sense. I think 8 “big tasks” is just the perfect number of tasks to track and plan and live by.
“To track is to improve, so everything gets better the more you do it.”
Joey works as a customer service agent. The company he is working for is improving customer experience, identifying and eliminating repeating problems and creating do–able workflows. He has been using Timeular for the past 1.5 years.
As a freelancer, Claire spends a lot of time quoting for jobs. Traditionally, the amount she suggested was based largely on her sense of how long these things typically took “but I realised that sense was far from being based in any sort of science or data. I wanted to get a really clear picture of how long I was spending on which tasks.”
Making lists to get better sleep
Claire is a very dedicated list maker. She doesn’t end each day until she has made a note of everything she needs to do in the following one and ends each week by developing a plan for each day of the next one.
“I wouldn’t sleep very well otherwise, because being a writer means having a permanent collection of impending deadlines.”
Having them all clearly noted down reduces the stress of that reality for her. She tries to have a rough idea of the order in which she’ll tackle her tasks during the day. Furthermore she tries to take into account to switch between tasks which require a lot of brainpower and those which require less.
“Urgent and unexpected stuff happens a lot, so I do have to flex things sometimes. But the broad plan stays in place.”
She tracks every single work-related activity to know precisely which activities are occupying her day and how much time they take. She uses this data also to bill her clients.
Timeular analytics helped her increase her turnover
“As a writer, I’m not great with numbers,” Claire laughs. Having the proof in her Timeular analytics helps her become more confident in quoting higher fees for projects – safe in the knowledge it’s based on reality.
Negotiating on money made easy
“That my turnover has increased is probably not a coincidence,” she says. “If you’re anything like me, negotiating on money is not the best or easiest part of being a freelancer. In fact, it can be really nerve-wracking. Knowing that what you saying is backed up by data of how long things normally take with this sort of job or this sort of client makes it so much easier.”
Claire works as a freelance writer, editor and editorial project manager. Her business is called “Read the Writer” where she produces engaging words on time and with apostrophes in all the right places. She has been using Timeular since the Kickstarter launch in 2016.